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The Rehabilitation of Charles Johnson
December 1, 2009 9:29 AM   Subscribe

Charles Johnson, post-9/11 reactionary firebrand, debunker of the Killian documents and spearhead of the American "anti-jihadist" movement via his Little Green Footballs blog, officially parts ways with the right.

Staunchly Republican well into early 2008, Johnson now supports the science and research behind anthropocentric global warming, attacks the Republican rank-and-file for their creationist beliefs and homophobic bigotry, and (perhaps most surprisingly) repudiates hate-speech. While muted threads of discontent have long been present in his blog, the turning point appears to have been Johnson's reaction to the "CounterJihad Europa" conference of October 2007.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul (150 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
The comments on the LGF post are actually....reasonable. Maybe someone just hijacked the server.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:34 AM on December 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


I read this last night and thought it was pretty fucking awesome. Every six months or so for the last eight years I would check out LGF and for the first few years, it would be pretty depressing with everyone calling for the heads of every muslim, but in the last couple years I could see a real shift. I started to see him mocking Fox News and being one of the few right-wing bloggers to call bullshit on crazy anti-Obama birth certificate stuff during the election campaign.

It doesn't sound like he's suddenly turned into a hard left wing guy, but it's interesting that thanks to the GOP going crazy on Rush and Beck and Palin in the last year that there isn't really a party for old school pro-science and engineering republicans.
posted by mathowie at 9:35 AM on December 1, 2009 [15 favorites]


Better late than never, I guess. But if he believes that his 10 points represent some recent development in conservatism, he still hasn't Gotten It.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:35 AM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


His list looks good, but what exactly is the practical consequence of "parting ways with the right"? Like, what candidates will he be voting for?
posted by DU at 9:35 AM on December 1, 2009


Well...this accounts for the one and only time I have ever dared to click on an LGF link. His list is not exactly news out here in the real world, but an interesting development, nonetheless.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:38 AM on December 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Wait. The right wing is now too crazy for LGF? Wow.

Let's send them a case of lattes.
posted by rokusan at 9:39 AM on December 1, 2009 [14 favorites]


Huh. I might have parted ways when right wing bloggers made it their mission to destroy the career of an Emmy and Peabody-winning journalist by turning amateur typographer in order to raise questions about one single document that was just part of a mountain of evidence that a sitting President had used family connections in order to avoid completing a term of service in the military; a document, mind you, that, even if it was fake, nonetheless contained information that the secretary who would have typed it said on public record was consistent with information that would have been in that document.

It's one of the moment the right wing turned its back on seeking the truth in order to construct an alternate reality whose tactics resemble Holocaust deniers, in that they think an entire fact can be tossed out by taking a piece of it and throwing so man aspersions on it that that one picayune element become suspect, therefore making the entirely of the fact suspect, regardless of how much additional evidence supported it. Also, it demonstrated the glee that the right was starting to take in ruining people who didn't support their agenda, even when that person was simply seeking the truth. That's when I would have said "This movement is getting a little dangerous and crazy."

Why didn't Johnson part ways then?

Oh yeah.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:40 AM on December 1, 2009 [44 favorites]


I never would have expected it.

I could do with more pro-science and engineering republicans.
posted by Caduceus at 9:40 AM on December 1, 2009


Thank you Sarah Palin.

Oh. And Sarah? Please run for president. Your country needs you.
posted by tkchrist at 9:44 AM on December 1, 2009 [15 favorites]


"I could do with more pro-science and engineering republicans"

I suppose that's desirable, in the same way that it would be nice to have more muggers who are not also rapists.
posted by edheil at 9:45 AM on December 1, 2009 [20 favorites]


I always knew he was a RINO. Seriously though, welcome aboard the sane train, Mr. Johnson.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 9:46 AM on December 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Perhaps he hopes to found a new, "reasonable right" contingent, although frankly I think that ground's mostly occupied by Obama and many Democrats (though not the Blue Dogs, because "reasonable" should not mean "opposing every goddamn plank of my party's platform." But I digress).

I don't particularly admire conservatism of any flavor, but if forced to choose, I'll take "mildly reactionary" to "batshit crazy". So good luck with that.

Of course, the cynic in me also wonders if this is less about seeing the light than leaving the sinking ship, ala David Brooks, who has also posted some "Conservatism, dude, you used to be cool, what happened?" type of columns.

It's a little like watching the guys who all admired their buddy Todd when he drank insane amounts of alcohol and did crazy shit freak out when his raging substance abuse problem made him more scary to be around than fun. I mean, yeah, a little woman-hating and racism and religious intolerance was fun for a while, but he took it too far, and now he's a drooling wreck who hangs out on street corners yelling at passerby. Awkward.
posted by emjaybee at 9:47 AM on December 1, 2009 [27 favorites]


While the comments on LGF are nice, the #lgf tag is pretty crazy.
posted by boo_radley at 9:49 AM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I suppose the Republican party really is fast becoming even more opposite to the radical left wing abolitionists who started it.
posted by Blasdelb at 9:51 AM on December 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


This was more impressive when John Cole did it, back when the Republicans were actually in power. He cited Terry Schiavo as the turning point for him.
posted by fatbird at 9:52 AM on December 1, 2009 [13 favorites]


If you remove the homophobia, Islamophobia, fascism and conspiracy theories, Republicans have some really neato ideological ideas buried way down there.
I look forward to well reasoned fiscal and moral debates with the pro-science Repubilican sets.
posted by Theta States at 9:52 AM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wow, so this is what the implosion of the republican party looks like. My guess is that they're attempting to burn it down and hurriedly rise from ashes in time for a 1994-style comeback.

Given how underwheming the current administration has been on most of the issues that matter to democrats' constituency, I'd give them 50/50 odds right now.
posted by mullingitover at 9:54 AM on December 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Theta States: If you remove the homophobia, Islamophobia, fascism and conspiracy theories, Republicans have some really neato ideological ideas buried way down there.

This is the same way that lye can become a delicious beverage.
posted by shakespeherian at 9:57 AM on December 1, 2009 [15 favorites]


Response from Dennis the Peasant (an arguably sane winger who had close dealings with him prior to the formation of Pajamas Media).
posted by dhartung at 9:57 AM on December 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


If you remove the homophobia, Islamophobia, fascism and conspiracy theories, Republicans have some really neato ideological ideas buried way down there.

Care to outline them? Aside from what you mentioned, "taxes are evil!" is the only uniquely Republican idea I've heard in....ever. But I'm willing to hear about any others you know of.
posted by emjaybee at 9:58 AM on December 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm glad he posted this, and good for him for taking the path he's taken.

on the other hand: numbers 1-5, 7 and 9 on his list were all true when he started the blog, and he took part in them.

again, I'm glad he's taken this step, but "the republican party is now TOO crazy for me" is only impressing me because I didn't think he was sane enough to have that realization.
posted by shmegegge at 9:58 AM on December 1, 2009 [6 favorites]


Astro Zombie: "they think an entire fact can be tossed out by taking a piece of it and throwing so man aspersions on it that that one picayune element become suspect, therefore making the entirely of the fact suspect, regardless of how much additional evidence supported it."

See also: The CRU email hacking incident.
posted by Rhaomi at 10:03 AM on December 1, 2009


Aside from what you mentioned, "taxes are evil!" is the only uniquely Republican idea I've heard in....ever.

In all honesty, I'd like to hear these too. Because other than the aforementioned fascism, racism, sexism and selfishness...I'm not seeing them either.
posted by DU at 10:03 AM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


emjaybee: Care to outline them? Aside from what you mentioned, "taxes are evil!" is the only uniquely Republican idea I've heard in....ever. But I'm willing to hear about any others you know of.

As a lefty Canadian observer, I won't rush up to claim indepth knowledge of Republicanism. My statement was more a hypothetical sentiment based on assuming the best. :)
posted by Theta States at 10:07 AM on December 1, 2009


who all admired their buddy Todd when he drank insane amounts of alcohol and did crazy shit

THEY STILL ADMIRE ME, GOD DAMN IT!
posted by tkchrist at 10:07 AM on December 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Interview with Charles Johnson. Better late than never, I guess. Still, I have more respect for John Cole, who realized that he could no longer support the GOP when they were in power than for Mr. Johnson, who made it through eight years of Bush misrule quite happily.
posted by longdaysjourney at 10:07 AM on December 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Where are the comments? I'm clearly not smart enough to read this website.
posted by roll truck roll at 10:10 AM on December 1, 2009


One of the reasons George Orwell is a personal hero of mine is that, despite being a committed socialist, he among the first to criticize Stalin and the Soviets as being, well, obviously evil.

I don't agree with much of this guy's politics, but you do have to give him credit for taking a stand on principle against the worst elements of "his side" and their smelly little orthodoxies.

It gives me some hope that we CAN actually have rational disagreements without automatically resorting to painting the other side as "evil fascists / communists." Then all of us reasonable people in the middle, though no doubt disagreeing on a lot, can ensure that the dangerous fringe on both sides is kept suitably marginalized.
posted by ScotchRox at 10:12 AM on December 1, 2009 [8 favorites]


This is an encouraging if overdue development in the blogosphere, but not exactly surprising. LGF wasn't founded as an explicitly political project, and Johnson once described himself as "pretty much center-left before 9/11". I'll be more impressed when the likes of Red State and Free Republic have their road-to-Damascus moment. Even though Johnson has now declared that he "won’t be going over the cliff" with those sites and the rest of the radical right, he certainly came close to the brink himself.

Meanwhile, the idiosyncratic conservative-in-exile Andrew Sullivan has picked up on Johnson's post and expanded on it in his blog at the Atlantic, "Leaving the Right". "To paraphrase Reagan, I didn't leave the conservative movement," he sums it up. "It left me."
posted by Doktor Zed at 10:17 AM on December 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


i'm not sure if this has been covered upthread, but my mom was a long time republican--held several party positons, went to conventions and what not. for the first time ever, she told me last september, that she doesn't want to be one anymore. because of the wingnuts. (it was really cool to explain the whole wingnut concept to my mom).

she was always a moderate republican ... not one of those gung ho types. i wonder how many other moderate republicans (such as myself) are ready to abandon the wingnut riddled apparatus?
posted by lester's sock puppet at 10:17 AM on December 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


"pretty much center-left before 9/11"

Oh. One of those.
posted by Artw at 10:18 AM on December 1, 2009 [16 favorites]


mullingitover: "Given how underwheming the current administration has been on most of the issues that matter to democrats' constituency, I'd give them 50/50 odds right now."

Krugman:

The Federal Reserve, for example, expects unemployment, currently 10.2 percent, to stay above 8 percent — a number that would have been considered disastrous not long ago — until sometime in 2012.

If that "sometime" is November, I don't care if the Republicans are running a Palin/Beck ticket. They're back in business, baby.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:19 AM on December 1, 2009


Artw: "pretty much center-left before 9/11"

Oh. One of those.


Yeah, I gotta say, if you suddenly support militarism and curbing of civil rights and etc. because someone did something real bad to you, you might not have ever really examined your moral positions to any degree, and also you might be a vengeful angry motherfucking coward.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:25 AM on December 1, 2009 [44 favorites]


I have not got the time to go through too much regarding the LGF site, but I recall that some time ago it was very very Pro Israel and very very anti-Palestinian, Arab too. Then I believe I had seen instances from time to time in recent times where the Right had turned against Charles, though for what reasons I do not know. This may be, then, his resigning from their group since they seem to have disowned him.
posted by Postroad at 10:26 AM on December 1, 2009


Joe Beese: I don't care if the Republicans are running a Palin/Beck ticket.

Beck does.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:26 AM on December 1, 2009


roll truck roll, you have to click on the "xxxx comments" link at the bottom. It takes a moment to load.

I don't think this really compares with John Cole's principled backing away from the Republicans. Johnson was always trying to define his mission narrowly, even when he was writing for the Wall Street Journal (online only, I believe), as some combination of defending the West from Islamism (or even more specifically jihadism) and Israel against all her theoretical enemies. Because he saw the GOP siding more with these viewpoints than the Democrats, he drank the kool-aid and dove in wholesale. But he was never "a Republican" in the Rotary Club sense. RINO is probably a good term for him. Given that before 9/11 he was a "good NPR liberal" (roughly, his words) you can see how uncomfortable he always was wearing the three-piece suit.

I'm sure there are many incidents to point to, but I suspect the real dust-up that underlies this split began with his Robert Stacy McCain callout, when he became really disturbed by the "assassination rhetoric" of the tea partiers.

At last, Charles can join the ranks of those untrusted by either side.

Gawd. The most I've looked at his site in two years.
posted by dhartung at 10:28 AM on December 1, 2009


Huh. I might have parted ways when right wing bloggers made it their mission to destroy the career of an Emmy and Peabody-winning journalist by turning amateur typographer in order to raise questions about one single document that was just part of a mountain of evidence that a sitting President had used family connections in order to avoid completing a term of service in the military; a document, mind you, that, even if it was fake, nonetheless contained information that the secretary who would have typed it said on public record was consistent with information that would have been in that document.

Seriously? He uncovered a hoax that the "Emmy and Peabody-winning journalist" had missed. That should be one of his proudest achievements, not something he should be ashamed of. Regardless of political views -- or how high our esteem is for award-winning journalists -- everybody should be anti-fake shit.
posted by Slap Factory at 10:29 AM on December 1, 2009 [15 favorites]


Heh, I guess Metafilter does <3> after all. Our meltdown is over. There really is an interesting history here, rememer the LGF or Late German Fascists thread?

Metafilter mooks.

Evil Children.

Metafilter hits bottom.

Metafilter: Stalkers welcome.

Metafilter wants Charles hit by a bus.

How far we have come.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 10:31 AM on December 1, 2009 [12 favorites]


No. With the amount of vile evil shit posted on that blob of a blog over the years in mind, this is very much not enough to deserve applause.
Astro Zombie, and dhartung's linked pajama dude, upthread, has it.
posted by mr.marx at 10:35 AM on December 1, 2009


In an interview with Newsmax last week, Palin "wouldn't rule out" running with the controversial talk show host in 2012.
If This Goes On—" is a science fiction short novel by Robert A. Heinlein, first serialized in 1940 in Astounding Science-Fiction and revised and expanded for inclusion in the 1953 collection Revolt in 2100. One of his Future History series, it recounts a future theocratic American society, ruled by the latest in a series of “Prophets.” The First Prophet was Nehemiah Scudder, a backwoods preacher turned President (elected in 2012), then dictator (no elections were held in 2016 or later).
Emphasis mine.
posted by DU at 10:36 AM on December 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


The reality is Charles Johnson is not, and never was, representative of the Republican base.

People just don't get it. Or they don't want to. Everyboyd got so pissed when I said this before. Becuase they don't understand, or don't want to understand, how far down the rabbit hole we have fallen. But it's the truth.

The "base" that has been nurtured and harvested by the last 20 years of modern Republicanism are not George Will or even Barry Goldwater conservatives. The base, the slender margin that decides elections, is always gonna vote GOP. The problem is this margin doesn't always show up to vote. Why? The modern base is the lowest most wholly ignorant, racist, stupid-as-shit common denominator. A block that was largely ignored. Now officially designed to be the reliable base. And the only way to get the out reliably is play to their worst fears and natures. And when you play the lizard brain you have to constantly appeal with harsher and more ridiculous emotional claims becuase eventually the lizard brain get's immune to same level of stimulus. This is why to us the claims of the modern right have seemed to get so completely more and more absurd. But to the base it get's more and more REAL.

So they got worse and worse. And hence you got Sarah frigg'n Palin. The pièce de résistance of the the New Right. However to anybody with half a brain she is clearly a divisive abomination. The center, quite literally, cannot hold.
posted by tkchrist at 10:36 AM on December 1, 2009 [17 favorites]


Slap Factory: "everybody should be anti-fake shit."

well, everybody is. I think what AZ was getting at is that they turned that into this rallying cry that clearly GWB's time in the national guard was totally on the up and up because one piece of evidence turned out to be false. further, they turned it into a call to arms to ruin Rather's career and to call out the fictional liberal media strawman again. the real deal is that that one piece of evidence being false simply meant that the situation re: bush's service was still the same as it was before: highly questionable. but after LGF got going, it was suddenly beyond question and Rather was persona non grata. being anti-fake shit is one thing. starting a lynch mob to muddy the discourse is another.

of course, I don't want to speak for AZ. if I'm off here, let me know.
posted by shmegegge at 10:37 AM on December 1, 2009 [6 favorites]


MetaFilter:

furiousxgeorge: "How far we have come."

If he's truly willing to brave controversy: Where does he stand on favorites?
posted by Joe Beese at 10:37 AM on December 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


also, if Johnson really wants to impress me, he can take credit for having fostered the right wing atmosphere he's departing from.
posted by shmegegge at 10:37 AM on December 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


I don't particularly admire conservatism of any flavor

I don't admire "conservatism" as that word has come to connote a 20th/21st century political movement, but I can admire a conservative temperament and even think that it's a good quality to have in a polity. As many, many people have pointed out over this decade, the Bush/Cheney-style Republican agenda was (is) so troubling, precisely because it was so radically destructive of much of what was considered progress in the 20th century.

As for Johnson, I always felt a little sorry for the guy; not only was he traumatized by the events of September 11th (and I take him at his word that he was), he had to spend the next eight years babysitting his lizardoid minions.
posted by octobersurprise at 10:49 AM on December 1, 2009


I'm probably out of touch. Even Robert Stacy McCain traces it all back to that 2007 conference. Johnson called out (and delinked) Pam Geller of Atlas Shrugs [!] and subsequently one after another of his once fellow-travelers on the anti-jihad circuit. After all this mutual de-linking, there wasn't much point in continuing on.
posted by dhartung at 10:49 AM on December 1, 2009




also, if Johnson really wants to impress me, he can take credit for having fostered the right wing atmosphere he's departing from.

Yeah. That's the big danger in indulging in your fears and prejudices in the media environment, right. Every body has fears and prejudices. Everybody has weak moments. Everybody has a lizard brain. Eventually, if you form a community based on fear and prejudice, you craft a climate that is self-perpetuating and hard to control.

The good news is, these stupid fucks, all they can do is destroy. They can't build. It's dangerous. But destruction doesn't last.

In order to build anything lasting you need reason. And the second you employ reason you momentarily must subdue your primal nature. And in that window there is an opportunity for self reflection.

Eventually enough of the smart ones will cross back over to sanity.
posted by tkchrist at 10:55 AM on December 1, 2009 [5 favorites]


Too little, too late.
posted by monospace at 11:02 AM on December 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Fuck him. His site spent years making fun of liberals for what they deemed as "crazy" and "anti-America" views such as debating a war and hoping for peace in the middle east. He openly mocked the brutal killing of Rachel Corrie, for no reason other than supporting Israel wholeheartedly, going as far as to organize a campaign to "send pizzas to the IDF" (because she was run over by a bulldozer. Get it?) Johnson devoted eight years of his life to promoting stupid, racist, angry ranting as legitimate political debate and now he's upset about it? What a fucking asshole.

Dennis the Peasant's link is the most accurate. He's bailing on the right because they're a laughable brand right now, his clout as a right-wing pundit has fizzled, and now that Bush isn't in office, the failed and awful war he masturbated to on a daily basis now "belongs" to a Democrat so he can't continue his aforementioned furious masturbating.

Like all the other right-wing wannabe "journalists" he's covering his ass by distancing himself from the radical fringe that previously supported him. The fullest extent of his "abandoning" of the right will be which Republicans he endorses as "safe and respectable" conservative alternatives to the same Democrats he despises. And given how well Andrew Sullivan got away with it, it's no wonder. Johnson will probably be joining mister "decadent enclaves of the leftists" any day now in the pantheon of just so much smarter than normal conservatives™. Vomit.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 11:02 AM on December 1, 2009 [46 favorites]


i wonder how many other moderate republicans (such as myself) are ready to abandon the wingnut riddled apparatus?

IMO, moderate republicans should be signing up as Democrats, then voicing their Republican ideas enough that the non-moderate Democrats jump ship to form a new left party. America would finally then be back on track with a balance between left and right, instead of right and wingnut-right.

The "base" are ~20% of the population, dumber than a sack of hammers and filled with hate. They are an inconsequential part of the voting block if you get off your ass and vote. The one and only reason those despicable people have influence is because the modern citizen doesn't vote.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:09 AM on December 1, 2009 [11 favorites]


Hope you're right, tkchrist.

Octobersurprise, you don't have to give me a mini-course, but would you point me to any conservative-ideology texts that symbolize your definition of conservatism? Unless you just mean "cautious regarding change" which isn't really a political platform, per se. Or hell, maybe it is.

Like I said, when it comes to caution and non-boat-rocking, Obama has pretty much occupied that space so far in his administration. I am much more likely to believe that a more-liberal party could split off of the Dems and leave Obama and his cohorts to be conservatives in the "cautious" sense than I am that the Republicans can find anything besides Palinist incoherency to promote.

But of course our strange pseudo-mandatory two-party system also skews what can happen with political parties. So who knows.
posted by emjaybee at 11:10 AM on December 1, 2009


A puppy drowning douchbag is still a puppy drowning douchbag for a long time after he stops drowning them.
Lets see if he actually does something productive with his new-found sanity. Let his actions speak louder than his blog.
posted by Balisong at 11:10 AM on December 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


The real story here is how so many of you think this is a story. What is written there describes every republican I know now and have ever known personally. Do some of you really think that most republicans (i.e. 50% of the voting public) are racist creationists? Well, it is not true, it has never been true, and it says a lot more about you than it does about the republicans. Even Bush doesn't believe in creationism.

One problem is that the republican entertainers masquerading as pundits, like Limbaugh, Coulter, etc. are presenting an extreme, ridiculous perspective to get attention. Your attention. Not mine. They know that haters on the left are more loyal viewers than old-school republicans on the right.

The other problem is that many of you on the left attribute the assortment of opinions of the fringes of the party to everyone on the fringes of the party. Rush Limbaugh is not a creationist, but he favors a free market (according to his own words). Mike Huckabee is a creationist, but the policies he presented during his candidacy were actually, literally socialist.

So many people on the left have the bipolar political framework ingrained in their minds that it is simply impossible to accept the notion that republicans are anything but the polar opposite of democrats on every single issue.

Most people who voted republican in the 80's, 90's and 2000's want lower spending and less taxes. That's it. The reason the party is falling apart is because these voters are increasingly frustrated by leaders and candidates who seem focused on everything other than spending and taxes.
posted by Pastabagel at 11:13 AM on December 1, 2009 [9 favorites]


well, everybody is. I think what AZ was getting at is that they turned that into this rallying cry that clearly GWB's time in the national guard was totally on the up and up because one piece of evidence turned out to be false. further, they turned it into a call to arms to ruin Rather's career and to call out the fictional liberal media strawman again. the real deal is that that one piece of evidence being false simply meant that the situation re: bush's service was still the same as it was before: highly questionable. but after LGF got going, it was suddenly beyond question and Rather was persona non grata. being anti-fake shit is one thing. starting a lynch mob to muddy the discourse is another.

Politics ain't beanbag. You should always assume that your opponents will make the most of any slip up on your part and attempt to use it to discredit the whole of your argument, because the reason they're opponents is that they disagree with your argument and want to see you lose. Rather fucked up and had certainly been around long enough to know he was going to get hung out to dry for it, and he handled it badly. The same process is now playing out with the East Anglia emails and the results will likely be the same, and it's gross naivite to expect otherwise. Johnson gets to count his coup for that one.
posted by Diablevert at 11:14 AM on December 1, 2009


of course, I don't want to speak for AZ. if I'm off here, let me know.

I am anti-fake shit. That being said, because it wasn't exactly 6 million who died in the Holocaust doesn't mean there wasn't a Holocaust, and because one document was likely forged does not eliminate the mountain of additional evidence Dan Rather had assembled. In fact, it is likely the reason Rather overlooked the possibility of it being a forgery is because its contents were absolutely consistent with all the additional evidence he had dug up, all of which was swept under the rug as a result of the collective act of mass head-burying that was Rathergate.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:17 AM on December 1, 2009 [9 favorites]


Politics ain't beanbag.

Truth ain't beanbags either. Ands ethics ain't beanbag. The Republican party threw both of those out the window a long time ago, and I'm not especially interested in the defection of people who play fast and loose with truth and with ethics in favor of scoring cheap political points.
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:19 AM on December 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Also, has this guy given up his rapid Islamophobia? If not, can we alienate him from the left so he just goes away?
posted by Astro Zombie at 11:23 AM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Do some of you really think that most republicans (i.e. 50% of the voting public) are racist creationists? Well, it is not true, it has never been true, and it says a lot more about you than it does about the republicans. Even Bush doesn't believe in creationism.

Maybe Bush doesn't, but 60% of Republicans do. Creationism isn't a wacky, fringe belief, it's something that a huge majority of the party believes in.
posted by EarBucket at 11:25 AM on December 1, 2009 [8 favorites]


(To be fair, 40% of independents and 38% of Democrats believe the same thing. The stupid is strong across the board on this issue, but it's particularly concentrated in the GOP.)
posted by EarBucket at 11:27 AM on December 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


That being said, because it wasn't exactly 6 million who died in the Holocaust doesn't mean there wasn't a Holocaust, and because one document was likely forged does not eliminate the mountain of additional evidence Dan Rather had assembled.

You are correct that it doesn't eliminate the additional evidence, but the evidence that one was a forgery absolutely requires Rather to prove affirmatively that none of the rest of that mountain of evidence was. It also accurately suggests that Rather did not thoroughly consider the source of the information he was getting.

In other words, the existence of one forged document calls into question the reliability and credibility of every other piece of evidence, as it should. Because Rather could not authenticate or validate everything he had, his story fell apart, because the viewer could reasonably respond to every piece of evidence with "Well, how do I know this isn't forged too?"

CBS didn't sweep anything under the rug. Rather blew all of his credibility on that one story. How could they have run with the story after that?

But look at the bright side. The aftermath of Rathergate was that CBS dropped all pretense of having a serious news outlet and fully embraced "infotainment" in the form of Comedy Central's The Daily Show.
posted by Pastabagel at 11:36 AM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


The aftermath of Rathergate was that CBS dropped all pretense of having a serious news outlet and fully embraced "infotainment" in the form of Comedy Central's The Daily Show.

Glorious day it was when CBS shut down 60 Minutes and Couric gotcha propaganda devices, yes, comrade?
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:43 AM on December 1, 2009


Maybe Bush doesn't, but 60% of Republicans do. Creationism isn't a wacky, fringe belief, it's something that a huge majority of the party believes in.

Exactly right. Pastabagel is simply not seeing reality here.

The right wing moved so far right so quickly that creationism isn't seen at fringe anymore. It's simply another "viewpoint." Rather than something that should be mocked and pointed at while laughing uproariously.

The actual fringe, AKA The Base, — which is about 20% of the GOP — has become so God damned fringe the bulk of them are, in terms of policy (as we learned in a recent thread), virtually indistinguishable from the new brand of pro-Israel Neo-Nazis. Serisouly. These people are fucked the hell up.

So yeah. The reliably sane element of the GOP, while representing a majority of the GOP, is ONLY about 30% of the country. They will pretty much put up with nearly anything from the nuts becuase that's what get's them ELECTED. Resulting in the sane ones giving all the appearances of insanity as they throw insane-ass policy bones to the Wing-nut whackos. Dragging the rest of the country right down the shitter.
posted by tkchrist at 11:47 AM on December 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


How could they have run with the story after that?

Uh. Because it was true?
posted by tkchrist at 11:49 AM on December 1, 2009 [6 favorites]


Well, it is not true, it has never been true, and it says a lot more about you than it does about the republicans. Even Bush doesn't believe in creationism.

Actually, he does.

FOX News: Bush: Schools Should Teach 'Intelligent Design' Alongside Evolution

WaPo: Bush Remarks On 'Intelligent Design' Theory Fuel Debate

And before you say that giving equal time to creationism in schools is not the same as believing in it, Bush endorsed teaching a view to children that has no known basis in reality, with no repeatable study conducted that supports it. That's equivalent with lending that false view credence, by supporting inculcating children with his false, unscientific, religious belief system.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 11:52 AM on December 1, 2009 [13 favorites]


True but no longer truthy.
posted by Artw at 11:54 AM on December 1, 2009


Well, it is not true, it has never been true, and it says a lot more about you than it does about the republicans. Even Bush doesn't believe in creationism.

He doesn't believe it's incompatible with evolution, ITYM.

If his actions were anything to go by, there was little evidence that he believed in Jebus either, but that didn't stop him spouting on about how God told him to invade Iraq.

The truth is, the left doesn't have to make this shit up. The right is sufficiently batshit insane to do all of the heavy lifting on our behalf in that respect.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 11:57 AM on December 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


I remember reading this site back when he was spewing his anti-jihadist rhetoric, and writing it off as another Fox News wannabe in the Blogosphere?

Now, he's moving to the middle, where all of us rational conservatives are and always have been.

Could this be a sign that America is tired of the polarization of politics, and the domination of both parties by extremists and fringe groups?
posted by reenum at 12:03 PM on December 1, 2009


ScotchRox: The Socialists and the Communists were pretty much in open war. It's not all that admirable or unusual for a socialist to have criticized a communist. It would be like a Green criticizing a Democrat.
posted by rusty at 12:07 PM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Pastabagel you may want to look up how much support creationism has. As tkchrist said the popularity of creationist belief appears to be quite significant. There's a reason why a large number of GOP presidential candidates claimed that they did not agree with evolution.
posted by Procloeon at 12:16 PM on December 1, 2009


One of the reasons George Orwell is a personal hero of mine is that, despite being a committed socialist, he among the first to criticize Stalin and the Soviets as being, well, obviously evil.

Orwell is one of my heroes as well, but his painstaking list of "crypto-communists" and "fellow travelers" and his collaborating with the British Foreign Office's Information Research Department were not his finest moments. As he himself wrote, "Saints should always be judged guilty until they are proved innocent."
posted by blucevalo at 12:18 PM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Could this be a sign that America is tired of the polarization of politics, and the domination of both parties by extremists and fringe groups?

Both?
Really?
We're seriously doing this?

Fine. You made a claim, now back it up.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 12:21 PM on December 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


I am anti-fake shit. That being said, because it wasn't exactly 6 million who died in the Holocaust doesn't mean there wasn't a Holocaust, and because one document was likely forged does not eliminate the mountain of additional evidence Dan Rather had assembled.

And just because the glove did not fit, you did not actually have to acquit.
posted by flarbuse at 12:25 PM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I've never understood, and never will, how you can reconcile "less taxes and less spending" with the veiny military hard-on most conservatives have. The military is the biggest socialist sink there is, and yet it is never the focus of budget-cutting knives.

Given that, "less taxes and less spending" is exactly equivalent to "more hate and less help for people not like me."
posted by maxwelton at 12:26 PM on December 1, 2009 [8 favorites]


fuck bush
posted by Damn That Television at 12:28 PM on December 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Wake me when instapundit stops his link + one word comment blogging and gets back to tech and techno.
posted by Mick at 12:28 PM on December 1, 2009


Truth ain't beanbags either. Ands ethics ain't beanbag. The Republican party threw both of those out the window a long time ago, and I'm not especially interested in the defection of people who play fast and loose with truth and with ethics in favor of scoring cheap political points.

There are no other political points. The phrase politics ain't beanbag implies that the missles being thrown aren't soft and pliable. They are meant to wound. Truth is malleable. Ethics circumstantial. We are a long damn way from Joseph N. Welch. Inasmuch as Johnson's conversion is useful, it is useful for the story it tells --- even mad dogs shrink back from the foam-flecked pack that's running the kennel now. Everything else about him is irrelevant, including the fact that he was and is a racist fuckhead.

In re Rather --- politics is a game of conviction, of persuasion, of swaying the crowd, and it always has been. Johnson and his cronies won that round, in large part because of poor tactics and arrogance on the part of the Peabody award-winning journalist et al. Complaining about it after the fact is process-based whining that Democrats often enjoy indulging in, and helps not at all. (Republicans prefer culturally-based whining.) If, as you say, the Republicans have thrown truth out the window, why are you surprised to find them underhanded in their tactics? It's the complaint of the frog in the parable, and is as likely to be met with contrition. These things must be understood if the good guys are to win a round occassionally. The strengths of one's opponents as well as their weaknesses.
posted by Diablevert at 12:31 PM on December 1, 2009


Senor Cardgage: What are the Blue Dogs, if not a fringe group. As we've seen, they held the key to health care getting passed or not.

Republicans are a lot more vocal about their extremist views, but there are extreme elements in the Dems as well.
posted by reenum at 12:33 PM on December 1, 2009


In re Rather --- politics is a game of conviction, of persuasion, of swaying the crowd, and it always has been. Johnson and his cronies won that round, in large part because of poor tactics and arrogance on the part of the Peabody award-winning journalist et al.

I'm sorry, but you seem to have confused journalism, which is what Rather was doing, with politics. A common mistake nowadays, but a repellent one. Whether or not politics is based on horseshit and bullying, as you claim, I still want my journalists to seek truth, rather than whatever is callowly convenient for partisanship, and when I make my decisions, it's based on facts, not propaganda. Johnson and his cronies didn't win that round, American lost.
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:34 PM on December 1, 2009 [8 favorites]


I've never understood, and never will, how you can reconcile "less taxes and less spending" with the veiny military hard-on most conservatives have.

If you take in less taxes and spend more on the military, that leaves even less for lefty socialist welfare programs. It's win-win.
posted by Combustible Edison Lighthouse at 12:36 PM on December 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Now that he's no longer a far-right Republican he can vote for all those moderate Republicans. If you're having trouble finding them, Chuck, they're listed under "Democrats".
posted by Legomancer at 12:36 PM on December 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Response from Dennis the Peasant (an arguably sane winger who had close dealings with him prior to the formation of Pajamas Media).

Heh, looked at the other entries on his blog. Nope, dude is rabid and calls Andrew Sullivan by the endearing nickname "Fudgie."
posted by ignignokt at 12:39 PM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Senor Cardgage: What are the Blue Dogs, if not a fringe group. As we've seen, they held the key to health care getting passed or not.

Republicans are a lot more vocal about their extremist views, but there are extreme elements in the Dems as well.


Wait, so you're saying that the equivalent to hard-right fringe extremists in the Republican party are. . .moderately conservative centrists in the Democratic party? What?
posted by EarBucket at 12:39 PM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


No real comment on Johnson, but regarding the discussions about what either party, as a whole, believes, there is a nice quote that helps me keep everything in perspective from time to time:
"The pundits, the pundits like to slice-and-dice our country into Red States and Blue States; Red States for Republicans, Blue States for Democrats. But I’ve got news for them, too. We worship an "awesome God" in the Blue States, and we don’t like federal agents poking around in our libraries in the Red States. We coach Little League in the Blue States and yes, we’ve got some gay friends in the Red States. There are patriots who opposed the war in Iraq and there are patriots who supported the war in Iraq. We are one people, all of us pledging allegiance to the stars and stripes, all of us defending the United States of America." - Barack Obama
posted by rush at 12:56 PM on December 1, 2009 [4 favorites]


Charles “Icarus” Johnson is Officially a Collaborationist Progressive
(theblogmocracy started out as LGF)




The "base" are ~20% of the population, dumber than a sack of hammers and filled with hate. They are an inconsequential part of the voting block if you get off your ass and vote. The one and only reason those despicable people have influence is because the modern citizen doesn't vote.


Poll: 2010 Promises Democratic Losses Due To “Enthusiasm Gap”
posted by various at 1:00 PM on December 1, 2009


*started out as LGF2*
posted by various at 1:01 PM on December 1, 2009


Pastabagel: You are correct that it doesn't eliminate the additional evidence, but the evidence that one was a forgery absolutely requires Rather to prove affirmatively that none of the rest of that mountain of evidence was.
Isn't this a logical impossibility?
posted by Western Infidels at 1:04 PM on December 1, 2009


The one interaction I had with LGF was shortly after the 2006 elections when the Ds regained congress, there was a long long thread over there that was literally (and I mean literally) calling for and hoping for the east coast to be nuked. That one and only interaction caused me to never want anything to do with the place again.

Hopefully Johnson has indeed turned a new leaf and will keep moving the site into vaguely sane territory, if so: good on him. The true people I end up admiring are those who learn and evolve from their mistakes. time will tell here.
posted by edgeways at 1:17 PM on December 1, 2009


Yeah, but at least they only call for the figurative lynching of census workers.
posted by Artw at 1:22 PM on December 1, 2009


Procloeon: "There's a reason why a large number of GOP presidential candidates claimed that they did not agree with evolution."

Correct, and that reason is the abysmal quality of contemporary American public education.
posted by mwhybark at 1:29 PM on December 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


I'm sorry, but you seem to have confused journalism, which is what Rather was doing, with politics. A common mistake nowadays, but a repellent one. Whether or not politics is based on horseshit and bullying, as you claim, I still want my journalists to seek truth, rather than whatever is callowly convenient for partisanship, and when I make my decisions, it's based on facts, not propaganda. Johnson and his cronies didn't win that round, American lost.

Okay. Just to be clear, I am not in fact arguing that the allegations about Bush's time in the Texas Air National Guard aren't true. I am arguing that if "America lost" it was in part because Dan Rather did a crappy job as a journalist.

I, too, am in favor of journalists seeking truth. (Also rainbows. And puppies. And pie.) However, when stalwart truth seeking journalists discover stories that might discredit the president, stalwart truth-seeking journalist should realize the the president's supports will be upset and likely to attack the story, and stalwart truth-seeking journalists should therefore dot every i and cross every t twice over in order to make sure their reporting is airtight. And if the stalwart truth-seeking journalists are confronted with allegations that some of the most important evidence they're using to source their story was forged, they should have that evidence examined, and if is proved to be a forgery, issue an imediate correction and apology and re-investigate the story to verify the truth of the other supporting evidence and witnesses. And then, if the allegations are in fact broadly true and the additional eveidence, seperate from the forged documents, suffiencient to prove the case, then, if they are very good journalists --- the kind that win Peabody awards --- they ought to be in a position to run a follow-up story, explaining and apologizing for their previous mistakes and illuminating the essential truth of their reporting.

Aside from Rather's errors or lack thereof as a journalist --- and honestly, I don't really want to get into a blow-by-blow on Rathergate --- Johnson was playing politics all the way. Very few people on either side of the aisle trust the media anymore; every political story is attacked by partisans as biased, and people are free to pick and choose how and where they get their news. That's what I mean when I say Johnson et al won. They succeeded in having the truth of the larger story overshadowed by the questions about how it was reported. Bitching about how that's unfair will not change that. We're currently seeing the same dynamic play out with East Anglia, and progressives never seem to learn from it. I am pro-truth. But truth's more of a marathoner than a sprinter. As the media becomes less powerful and more fragmented, it will become more partisan and shallower, and stupider. All I'm saying is: Quit trying to work the ref. It's Calvinball.
posted by Diablevert at 1:29 PM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


The comments on the LGF post are actually....reasonable. Maybe someone just hijacked the server.

It's because they're all sycophants and it's easy to get kicked off and very difficult to get an account. What would you expect?
posted by delmoi at 1:37 PM on December 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Diablevert: It's Calvinball.

No truer statement ever made about the relationship between politics and journalism.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:39 PM on December 1, 2009


Johnson's point regarding anti-Islamic racism strikes me as being particularly ironic. Like Hitchins, I thought his entire point was that the left wasn't prejudiced enough in regards to the hunsmuslims who would destroy our way of life unless forced to assimilate by the threat of the United States.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 1:41 PM on December 1, 2009


People just don't get it.

Dear god, I've come to loathe that phrase and all its variants. It is one of those things movies have done to me.

Pastabagel: The real story here is how so many of you think this is a story. What is written there describes every republican I know now and have ever known personally.

You should move to Georgia. NOTE: BY NO MEANS DO THIS

Do some of you really think that most republicans (i.e. 50% of the voting public) are racist creationists?

When why don't they speak up for themselves instead of signaling acceptance by acquiescence?

Well, it is not true, it has never been true, and it says a lot more about you than it does about the republicans.

Looking at how much of the media has ignored it, you'd think that moderate conservatism was a dead doctrine. I think that says a lot more about the media, and moderate conservatives, than it does about us.

Even Bush doesn't believe in creationism.

IF HE PUSHED FOR TEACHING IT WHILE IN OFFICE IT IS EXACTLY THE SAME TO US AS IF HE BELIEVED IT.
posted by JHarris at 1:50 PM on December 1, 2009 [8 favorites]


If that "sometime" is November, I don't care if the Republicans are running a Palin/Beck ticket. They're back in business, baby.

Palin/Beck is pretty unlikely:
BECK: No, no I’m just saying — Beck-Palin, I’ll consider. But Palin-Beck — can you imagine, can you imagine what an administration with the two of us would be like? What? Come on! She’d be yapping or something, and I’d say, “I’m sorry, why am I hearing your voice? I’m not in the kitchen.”
posted by delmoi at 1:51 PM on December 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


It's because they're all sycophants and it's easy to get kicked off and very difficult to get an account. What would you expect?

Something about this statement makes me very uncomfortable.
posted by JHarris at 1:53 PM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


The American right wing has gone off the rails, into the bushes, and off the cliff. I won’t be going over the cliff with them.

Has gone. Huh. Which of those 10 points didn't the right wing stand for when he was carrying their water? No apologies, though.

If this guy, and Andrew Sullivan, and Thomas Friedman, and Fareed Zakaria, had any integrity at all, their parting of ways would go more like this:

"I've come to realize that I couldn't see some pretty basic things that were obvious to most of the rest of the country, and because of my blindness, I have done a lot of damage. I am profoundly sorry. I have also come to realize that being so wrong for so long about such important things makes me uniquely unqualified to make public statements ever again. Adieu, and again my apologies."
posted by Killick at 1:56 PM on December 1, 2009 [12 favorites]


i wonder how many other moderate republicans (such as myself) are ready to abandon the wingnut riddled apparatus?

Personally, I'm amazed all the purging wingnuts have left any moderate Rs standing . . . or that any moderate Rs still want to stick around.

I used to be a moderate R. I left when George Bush Sr. decided that he had to make friends with all the brand new Pat Robertson Rs, and moved the party hard, hard right to do so. That was the beginning of the now accepted practice in the R party of running people through a litmus test: Are you Xian? Do you oppose gay rights/marriage? Are you against abortion? etc. It has been going on for awhile now. Didn't everyone notice how unenthusiastic the Rs were about supporting McCain, who doesn't pass the full litmus test, how they only revved up when he added Palin to the ticket?

I have to say the R party, which generally used to be in favor of limited government, a balanced budget, extreme caution about foreign adventurism, law and order, keeping out of people's private business, and similar quaint ideas, is almost unrecognizable these days, particularly after an 8 year orgy of spending, debt expansion, abridgment of the rule of law, surveillance, torture, and foreign invasion. I too don't know anymore what the Rs stand for.

I am definitely not a Democrat, but I can't see how any moderates can identify as Rs these days. Just sayin'.
posted by bearwife at 2:15 PM on December 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


The attitude of "Where were you when...?" needs to stop. If you want to expand your movement, then step #1 is persuading people. And it's kind of a dick move to expend all that effort to explain to right wingers how they're wrong and then tell them to fuck off and die when they decide to agree with you.

(See also: Andrew Sullivan)
posted by empath at 2:27 PM on December 1, 2009 [10 favorites]


And, btw -- no one has more zeal than the recently converted, so telling these people to shut up and never speak in public again is cutting off your nose to spite your face.
posted by empath at 2:28 PM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


have to say the R party, which generally used to be in favor of limited government, a balanced budget, extreme caution about foreign adventurism, law and order, keeping out of people's private business, and similar quaint ideas,

The funny thing is, a party like this would actually be quite popular, even among alot of crazy lefty MeFites. I consider myself a lefty and if my main adversary was a party like you describe, I would be overjoyed that we could stop worrying about wars and abortion and start debating the things that really matter -- things like healthcare, prison and drug law reform.

Naturally we'd probably still disagree in those areas. But at least we wouldn't be arguing about how many Afghanis we should blow up this year.
posted by Avenger at 2:45 PM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


“I don't admire "conservatism" as that word has come to connote a 20th/21st century political movement, but I can admire a conservative temperament and even think that it's a good quality to have in a polity”

As a conservative who dislikes “conservatives” I agree. But I have to go further, with folks like AZ and ask why not earlier? I’m solidly GOP when it comes to local politics, especially in Cook County. There are a few people I’ll vote Democrat for, even send money to, mostly it’s 3rd party otherwise. In Cook County a vote for a democrat is a vote for the machine. And it’s pretty corrupt.
I still get the GOP folks tho’ asking me why I give money to candidates personally instead of donating to the party. And my response is a tempered, even: “Are you fucking nuts?”
But too – local GOP folks have their b.s. to put up with.

I saw a candidate questioned in a forum about abortion. This guy was running for a local slot, there was no chance he would ever have any say on the Supreme Court ruling, he wasn’t going to pass a law on it anytime soon, he believed in good government and was a pretty straight shooter in every other way. He gave a fairly lukewarm response (believed parents should be notified if the kid was a minor, like any other medical procedure, but…) and after the meeting he got lambasted by people more interested in puffing themselves up and showing their hardcore status than understanding civics.

Silly. But too, Lisa Madigan (democrat) is a good egg and outstanding at what she does and I’d rather have someone in office doing the job properly and well representing the people of the state whether they believe in J.C. and the boys or Von Daniken or whatever.

And that’s really the core issue here – you have this guy who’s ‘come to his senses’ perhaps – whatever one can say about his departure from the pack of naval gazing narcissist materialists currently representing the GOP, and there’s still the question of his ability to think critically.
Indeed, the point has been raised that critical thought is a rare resource, and, details and particulars aside I can’t disagree. Party and ideological loyalty are the enemy of critical thinking, about any issue.

And, when anyone, any group, anybody, tells me it’s raining and goes ahead and starts pissing on me, yeah, they’re going to lose my backing.
I’m happy to have a difference of opinion with anyone. Had plenty here and it’s been mostly amicable and where it hasn’t I think it’s been more than my share of the blame. But that’s a far cry from someone trying to rearrange the facts or whatnot in order to sucker me into thinking something is true that isn’t.

That has occasionally happened here, but for the most part it’s been a mistake or something like that. For the most part, one of the nice things about this medium, is that people can’t generally get away with that kind of B.S.ing and it’s pretty easy to tell when someone is in earnest or dissembling. (Trolling – different story).
In the media – very hard to do. And it’s a shame because the people who are full of crap tend to be able to shout down the fact checkers, et.al. and does a disservice to the country, and indeed, truth itself.
Pollutes the whole environment such that people accept that it’s ‘calvinball.’ And yes, politics has always been dirty. But never in history has there been the potential for mass communication of the truth.
What surprises me, what someone commented on about Orwell a while back that never occurred to me would be true, is that you need only get people to like it dirty. That you don’t need to force telescreens on people and make them keep it on in order to watch them 24/7, you need only insure that they watch it.
Easier than thinking I suppose.
And yet, people like this pollute the environment they themselves are swimming in as well. It’s not just that he’s stopped farting in the pool. He’s stopped dumping petroleum waste products into the drinking water.
But still – doesn’t look like he (or anyone in the high spotlights) plans to clean it up anytime soon.
posted by Smedleyman at 3:00 PM on December 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


Re what the R party used to be, here's a great lament by Garrison Keillor.
posted by bearwife at 3:01 PM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


empath: Oh, usually I'll agree with you. However I don't feel anyone is obligated to forgive and forget 8 years of organizing a community centered on the things he now calls abhorrent. For that matter, I'm still not convinced that Sullivan is doing much more than opportunistically surfing the tides of public opinion.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 3:02 PM on December 1, 2009


Kirk: Who cares why he's seen the light? I just read LGF for the first time (especially enjoyed his memoir of shedding the false skepticism about global warming) and it seems like this dude is coming out from under the spell of a powerful sadness cast upon the nation on 9/11 that affected the whole country with madness, whether now you admit it or not. Instead of cutting him open on the stone table of recrimination, let's embrace him as an ally in the fight for truth, knowledge, and freedom. Results are too fucking important not to take all the help we can get, even from the raging depressives or mercenaries overeager for sweets.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:26 PM on December 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


I agree, Potomac - it's no longer about left versus right - it's about the sane versus the insane. The capable-of-thought versus the Infowars readership. The humans holed up in the mall versus the flesh eaters. We can't afford to be spiteful about who used to be wrong and why, or whether they're contrite enough now.
posted by fleetmouse at 3:55 PM on December 1, 2009


Dag nab it! Am I the only one who spent part of the holiday listening to family go on and on about how great Palin is and how much greater she is now that they've read her book?

And many of these are people who were once not insane.

One person away from the right - for any reason - gives me a little peace of mind. (And I'll be checking some blogs to see if they've cut LGF.)
posted by Lesser Shrew at 4:04 PM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Instead of cutting him open on the stone table of recrimination, let's embrace him as an ally in the fight for truth, knowledge, and freedom.

I mostly agree. But will he have it? The second some so-called Libruhl embraces this guy he will be utterly ostracized by the right. The right being the only community he has known.

Personally, I'd rather have him on the inside futzing with the gears and levers of the right. Out here in the fact-based community he will be ignored by the very people we need to reach out there in whack-job land.
posted by tkchrist at 4:07 PM on December 1, 2009


bearwife: ...limited government, a balanced budget, extreme caution about foreign adventurism, law and order, keeping out of people's private business, and similar quaint ideas...

A question that i've been burning to ask a republican is: what do those values mean? Pretty much everyone will agree that a balanced budget is a good thing, but the real question is what you have to do to achieve it. The same goes for most of the things you've talked about above. They're questions of priority. What is it, specifically, that you would cut from the government to make it smaller, cheaper and tax less? Law and order also sounds great, until you pass laws that criminalise people for drug possession. And so on.

As a socialist, i feel like i have a pretty coherent philosophy regarding government (govern for the good of the people, etc, etc), but i don't understand the corresponding ideals for republicans, even of the non-wingnut kind. I'd genuinely appreciate an explanation of this.
posted by nml at 4:07 PM on December 1, 2009


Potomac Avenue, empath, where you and I differ is that I don't see Johnson as a victim of some spell. This guy created a forum for racist invective. He actively urged the crazy along. The kind of dehumanizing that made Abu Ghraib possible -- that's squarely on Johnson's plate. For him now to say "Wow, those guys are crazy, I want off!" doesn't make me count him as an ally.

It might be that sometime between when I saw his website and today that it changed from a stormfront wannabe hate site to something else. But honestly, I don't have the stomach to go poke around over there. And his non-apologetic distancing is not enough for me to want to make nice.
posted by Killick at 4:11 PM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Potomac Avenue: Who cares why he's seen the light?

Well I don't. And this is why.

I had friends and colleagues from Turkey and India who had the experience of a welcoming community grow hostile towards them because of mistrust and discrimination after 9/11. Johnson personally turned LGF into a hate-site. He was part of the problem, not that you'd recognize it from his post, where he points the finger at everyone else in the right.

A key part of the reconciliation process is the ability to admit, I was wrong. And that's what I don't see. It's not about recrimination because that would be more work than he's worth. But neither am I obligated to bend over backwards to embrace him.

fleetwoodmouse: I agree, Potomac - it's no longer about left versus right - it's about the sane versus the insane.

If there is anything I've learned from a family tree of mixed nuts, its that personal accountability is important for sanity.
posted by KirkJobSluder at 4:36 PM on December 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


bearwife> I have to say the R party, which generally used to be in favor of limited government, a balanced budget, extreme caution about foreign adventurism, law and order, keeping out of people's private business, and similar quaint ideas, is almost unrecognizable these days

You have to go back to Eisenhower to find those qualities in a GOP president.

The burning question is: can genuine conservatives regain control of the GOP? There are so many far-right demagogues, pundits and commentators making a healthy living off the insanity that they'll smother any genuine conservative movement in its crib.
posted by Artful Codger at 4:39 PM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


It might be that sometime between when I saw his website and today that it changed from a stormfront wannabe hate site to something else.

If you read between the lines in some of his posts, what's pretty apparent is that he made friends with some actual Muslims at some point. He often links to posts by Muslim bloggers now.
posted by empath at 4:39 PM on December 1, 2009


> His list looks good, but what exactly is the practical consequence of "parting ways with the
> right"? Like, what candidates will he be voting for?

Obama, of course (as I did, expecting him to turn out pretty much as he has, that being business as usual, Democratic flavor--promise left, govern middle.) And others like him, if the Dems can locate any. And will (now) nominate them.
posted by jfuller at 4:58 PM on December 1, 2009


Intersting. I'm still holding out for James Lileks to admit that Michelle Bachmann is actually more dangerous than some random guy in a turban (or a Best Buy cashier asking for his zip code), if only so that I can buy his books again without feeling totally guilty.
posted by scody at 4:58 PM on December 1, 2009


The reason the party is falling apart is because these voters are increasingly frustrated by leaders and candidates who seem focused on everything other than spending and taxes.

I disagree, but more than that, the mantra of cut taxes, spend less is fine as a directive, but it's not really a policy nor even close enough for a platform. It's only budgetary, strictly, so it says nothing about anything else.
posted by krinklyfig at 4:58 PM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


Somewhere, Victor Frankenstein is smiling.
posted by Chuffy at 5:08 PM on December 1, 2009


Smedleyman, you lost me at "There are few people I will vote Democrat for..."

It's the Democratic Party, not the Democrat Party. You "conservatives" like your codes.
posted by Chuffy at 5:14 PM on December 1, 2009


Yeah, it's called the fallacy of composition.
posted by carping demon at 5:21 PM on December 1, 2009


Smedleyman: "I’m solidly GOP when it comes to local politics, especially in Cook County."

Isn't that kind of like being solidly Green Party when it comes to national politics?
posted by mwhybark at 5:39 PM on December 1, 2009


If he's truly willing to brave controversy: Where does he stand on favorites?

Or indeed, sidehugs!
posted by armage at 5:39 PM on December 1, 2009


But you're all missing the real goldmine of LittleGreenFootballs!

The mundane, boring, and just plain bad photography of Charles Johnson. The really comical bit: each crap photo gets hundreds of comments!
posted by stepheno at 5:40 PM on December 1, 2009


Avenger (quoting another): "have to say the R party, which generally used to be in favor of limited government, a balanced budget, extreme caution about foreign adventurism, law and order, keeping out of people's private business, and similar quaint ideas,"

The funny thing is, a party like this would actually be quite popular, even among alot of crazy lefty MeFites.


See, whenever I hear someone embrace these ideas, I look at the actual history of the folks who have both embraced these ideas and taken actual power, and I have come to conclude that there was never a good old day in which these ideals were meant and used as guides to governance. I actually assume when someone campaigns on this platform, they are really interested in the opposite.

"Limited government:" reduced regulatory oversight over national and international industrial and finaincial interests combined with increased regulatory requirements for business entities which are not dependent on large-scale financing and similar dependency mechanisms

"balanced budget:" cut funding for all non-military-related programs, especially education and health care, dramatically increase funding for all military-relaed programs

"law and order:" spy on anyone to the left of Ike, increase police access to military hardware and training, jail as many poor people as possible

"keeping out of people's private business:" see my first point under law and order, with particular emphasis on enabling laws and programs that limit the economic mobility of given-marginal-group-of-the-era

I honestly don't see how it's possible to interpret these cod words any other way.
posted by mwhybark at 6:00 PM on December 1, 2009 [6 favorites]


Here's something weird:

right as i was sitting there in a synagogue reading this thread tonight who should walk onstage but Andrew Sullivan, there to introduce Jonathan Safran Foer reading from his book Eating Animals, which book advocates that you shouldn't.

Sulli, who would have looked really well put together if he hadn't been wearing hiking boots, had some very fine words to say about the morality of eating animals. Basically he said that eating meat is one of these things that he objectively knows is wrong and yet does nothing about it. It's a daily reminder of our failures as a society to be ethical, not by his standards or some churches, but by everyone's, no matter what they believe. Finally hundreds of years from now he highly suspects that our greatgrandchildren will look on the factory farms system as the worst aspect of our current civilization. He is not himself a vegetarian, at all.

Foer graciously accepted the introduction (despite their widely divergent opinions about other things obviously) and then talked about what the farm system does to our culture and to our environment. I personally don't give much of a crap about animals, their feelings, but he convinced me that serious people, carers and deciders, should. I may stop eating meat on Monday, or something, even though I don't eat it that much to begin with, because I can take a hint--it's fucking up human-culture, which is what I'm supposedly caring about instead of pigs and sheep. There are plenty of things more insidious and worse for me personally that I need to change first, but very few things as a society that cost so little to give up to gain so much.

So but another massive point of his talk was that: he shouldn't reject my desultory and admittedly ignorant help in the movement to change this terrible situation, but should welcome me to the table. He doesn't want to convince anyone to be a vegetarian, or shame people for eating meat every now and then, nor does he want to persecute a jackass like me who's been rude to some (sisters namely) for caring about animal welfare or eaten veal and pate during the same meal...he just wants to make shit right. Change is way too important to care why someone is pushing, whether for pay or praise or purity, cuz the boulder is huge, and the hill is wicked high.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:00 PM on December 1, 2009 [10 favorites]


The same process is now playing out with the East Anglia emails and the results will likely be the same

Diablevert wins the pool.
posted by dhartung at 6:41 PM on December 1, 2009



Smedleyman, you lost me at "There are few people I will vote Democrat for..."

It's the Democratic Party, not the Democrat Party. You "conservatives" like your codes.


Lighten up, Francis. That isn't at all what he said, and even faced in other contexts with people that insist on childish things like referring to their political opponents by pet names, pigs/mud/wrestling/etc.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:08 PM on December 1, 2009


You know, Potomac, that's a great comment, and I'm right there with you. If conservatives want to repudiate their crazy leaders, I am all for it. Best of luck.

But I also reserve the right, when it comes to politics and power, to be skeptical of pundits who change their stripes when the political wind shifts. I can accept someone to my side (sort of) without immediately making them my new and trusted best buddy. Johnson chucked all the values he now holds so dear right out of the boat the minute 9/11 happened; how do I know he wouldn't do it again if we were attacked again? I don't. So I wait and see what he does, not what he says.

On the other hand, as regards regular schmucks like you and me who want to vote moderately and maybe change our consumption habits, the bar is lower.
posted by emjaybee at 7:10 PM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I’m solidly GOP when it comes to local politics, especially in Cook County.

I worked on the Obama campaign with a guy in Raleigh, NC who'd moved there from Chicago. He told me about the time he voted in the GOP primary there because a local candidate had come to his (mostly gay) gym to shake hands and talk to people. He'd been really impressed that there was a gay-friendly Republican candidate, so he wanted to vote for her.

According to him, when he got to his polling place and requested a Republican primary ballot, the poll workers had trouble finding one; no one had ever asked for one before.
posted by EarBucket at 7:10 PM on December 1, 2009


"The really comical bit: each crap photo gets hundreds of comments!"

Those photos. My God. What a thundering lack of imagination, vision, insight into the world, self, or how to use a motherfucking camera. This is exactly what I'm thinking of when I say Johnson and his type have a retarded and emotionally stunted child's view of the world. I don't know what else to say. As a motherfucking artist and lefty I run out concepts to explain how important the 'terrible at art'/'terrible at political thinking dealio is. Anyway. Thanks for the links. Made my day.

Oh, and I'm not a lefty who feels huggy about my political enemies. Fuck 'em. I'm a creator, they are ruiners of good shit. Fuck 'em twice.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 7:17 PM on December 1, 2009 [3 favorites]


Actually, I should follow myself up here: I grew up around right wing dullards aplenty. As I go into my forties I'm seeing people my age making the transition from vibey, happening dudes, to boring drips with dead eyes.

If people put themselves in a mental zone beyond communication. Fuck 'em.

I sound like a lefty Ayn Rand or something, but I no longer care. Just this morning local talk radio let climate change deniers onto the airwaves and something inside me snapped.

Fuck 'em.

I did have a point.
posted by Gamien Boffenburg at 7:21 PM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


It's the Democratic Party, not the Democrat Party. You "conservatives" like your codes.

You might want to consider that roughly, oooh, most of the world doesn't have the foggiest what the difference is and why anyone would care in the least. What you are interpreting as "code" might be an accident.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:19 PM on December 1, 2009


As a motherfucking artist and lefty I run out concepts to explain how important the 'terrible at art'/'terrible at political thinking dealio is.

OK, the photography is beyond dull, but the guy has played guitar with Stanley Clarke, Al Jarreau, George Duke and others known to be heavier hitters than even some Metafilter commenters. The whole good art/proper political thinking pair-up thing is a crock.
posted by Wolof at 9:52 PM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


I honestly don't see how it's possible to interpret these cod words any other way.

These words are not code, any more than Smedley was using code. Limited government means just that. (Since I'm moderate, of course, I'm OK with regulation to keep the market honest, including real regulation of BIG business.) Balanced budget means just that, not a giant war machine and many poor people. Law and order means a few important things: 1) the rule of law, for real and 2) sensible rules for police so they know what they can and cannot do consistent with the prosecution and 3) jail for violent people and untreatable sex offenders. Keeping out of people's business (along with rule of law) means that bugging, surveillance, secret courts, telling people who they can love and marry, and otherwise trying to run people's private lives isn't OK.

I am not all that doctrinaire, especially as I age. I like government programs that alleviate poverty -- if they work. I prefer alternative sentences for people who are addicted. And I'm fine with sensible regulation.

My original point is that whatever the Rs stand for, they are very far these days from these principles. And my followup point is that demonizing moderates is not a good idea for Democrats either. If we don't agree, fine. But those who drum out all but the true believers are going to be lonely and lose elections, as the Rs are finding out.
posted by bearwife at 9:56 PM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


meant to say sensible rules for police so they know what they can and cannot do consistent with the constitution.

proofread before posting fail
posted by bearwife at 9:59 PM on December 1, 2009


bearwife: "Limited government means just that. [etc etc etc]"

[Please forgive my elision.]

Except that, no, it doesn't, when used as a national political campaign platform. It never has, and I prophesy it never will.

In each instance we both cite (and in my original post I left out 'foreign adventurism,' to which I will now suggest one Google 'Arbenz'), in national politics in this century, no American political party has ever campaigned on and then enacted policies which hew to the principles stated. Instead, the actual political and legislative output of the party victories built on these stated principles are precisely as I state them.

We live in the same country and pay the same taxes; how can you not see this? It is my contention that the language used to frame the legislation - the code - prevents a clear and accurate dialog and analysis. I would further posit that this is a positive benefit to and concrete goal of those who use this speech to wield and extend their personal power and wealth.

my proofing was terrible too
posted by mwhybark at 10:43 PM on December 1, 2009 [1 favorite]


If his actions were anything to go by, there was little evidence that he believed in Jebus either, but that didn't stop him spouting on about how God told him to invade Iraq.

Which actions? "Religious war" is a kind of old tradition.
posted by rodgerd at 11:09 PM on December 1, 2009


"To paraphrase Reagan, I didn't leave the conservative movement," he sums it up. "It left me."

Or, in other words, "I was right all along, I am still right, and I admit no mistakes or errors in judgement. It was everyone else's fault."

Johnson is a coward whose pants-pissing fear lead him into extreme ideology and who saw that he could make some profit in it. Now that both the fear and the profit are less, he is looking for a new angle.

Or maybe I'm just jaded.
posted by moonbiter at 11:42 PM on December 1, 2009 [2 favorites]


"Democratic"/"Democrat" Party.
I do not think that the eminently reasonable Smed intended any "slur" in his usage - it's really more in referring to the D Party that this happens. But it does happen, and it does mean something to the people who say it.
posted by zoinks at 12:53 AM on December 2, 2009


Sullivan and Johnson are hucksters.
And people lamenting the "good" GOP are deluding themselves unless they're talking about Lincoln Republicans. The GOP has been bircher central since at least the Goldwater era.
posted by owillis at 1:05 AM on December 2, 2009


"The really comical bit: each crap photo gets hundreds of comments!"

I just checked the site again to see that, and the top entry was This: a macro-focus picture of a bicycle brake, with 212 comments.

Funny thing, though. was he linked to this article making fun of Eric Raymond for claiming that some climate data was faked based on some commented out code. I hadn't heard about that lunatic in a while.
posted by delmoi at 7:19 AM on December 2, 2009


bearwife: "My original point is that whatever the Rs stand for, they are very far these days from these principles."

in truth, I don't see these as republican principles, as you've expressed them. perhaps that's because you're a moderate, I don't know. but the principles you've expressed aren't republican, for the most part. and I don't mean "nowadays." I mean, for the past 100+ years.

Balanced budget means just that, not a giant war machine and many poor people.

these three things are related, but not in the way you've described them so I'm confused by this statement. A balanced budget means that the money spent is less than or equal to the money brought in. poor people and a giant war machine are factors in that, but not as diametric opposition to budget balance or anything. more importantly, these simply aren't republican values, and haven't been in living memory. a balanced budget? helping the poor? peace? that's the platform of the democratic party in a nutshell.

Law and order means a few important things: 1) the rule of law, for real

I'm sorry, I don't know what this means. I really just have no idea, and I don't understand how you're relating this statement to republican values.

2) sensible rules for police so they know what they can and cannot do consistent with the prosecution

yeah, this is an extremely liberal value, neither conservative nor republican. unless by "sensible" you mean "relaxed," which I don't think is what you mean. further, when it comes to law enforcement, the basic point of opposition hasn't been whether cops should have rules, it's been whether they should be enforced. and what you'll find is that democrat politicians tend to promote punishing cops who break the law and violate civil rights, and that republicans tend to promote letting them go.

3) jail for violent people and untreatable sex offenders.

you make a distinction later about relaxing sentencing for addicts, which coupled with this statement tells me you're talking about violent criminals and sex offenders as opposed to non-violent crime, etc... which, hey, awesome. that's the democrat party, right there. again, I think your being moderate has confused me about the principles you're talking about, and how they represent republican values because you seem to be describing liberal values, not republican or conservative ones.

Keeping out of people's business (along with rule of law) means that bugging, surveillance, secret courts, telling people who they can love and marry, and otherwise trying to run people's private lives isn't OK.

which... i mean... this is like the big deal for democrats. that's our whole thing. that has never been the republican platform, ever, although they've paid lip service to the idea of "keeping government out of our lives," it's been a very restrictive definition of "our lives."

which brings me to the idea of code words. this has already been a long comment, so sorry about this and bear with me, but here's why we democrats believe that the republicans speak in code:

The Southern Strategy.

key quotes re: same.
From now on, the Republicans are never going to get more than 10 to 20 percent of the Negro vote and they don't need any more than that... but Republicans would be shortsighted if they weakened enforcement of the Voting Rights Act. The more Negroes who register as Democrats in the South, the sooner the Negrophobe whites will quit the Democrats and become Republicans. That's where the votes are. Without that prodding from the blacks, the whites will backslide into their old comfortable arrangement with the local Democrats.
- Kevin Phillips, Nixon strategist
You start out in 1954 by saying, "Nigger, nigger, nigger." By 1968 you can't say "nigger"—that hurts you. Backfires. So you say stuff like forced busing, states' rights and all that stuff. You're getting so abstract now [that] you're talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you're talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is [that] blacks get hurt worse than whites. And subconsciously maybe that is part of it. I'm not saying that. But I'm saying that if it is getting that abstract, and that coded, that we are doing away with the racial problem one way or the other. You follow me—because obviously sitting around saying, "We want to cut this," is much more abstract than even the busing thing, and a hell of a lot more abstract than "Nigger, nigger".
- Lee Atwater
The sad truth is that code is precisely how the republican party speaks. and it has always been how they speak. it started with the civil war, back when the difference between the parties of the time was state's rights versus federal power, which was code for "can you make us stop keeping slaves." and we had to fight a war to say "yes we can." the funny thing, the thing Keillor (may he forever be as bored as he is boring) laments, is that it was the republicans fighting for the federal power to stop the states from keeping slavery legal. fast forward a little bit, and you've got the civil rights movement, from whence derive the above quotes. and here we've got... dun dun DUNNNNNNNN, the democrats opposing it? oh no, those are the DIXIECRATS! they're like democrats except at night they take their masks off and fly across town to the republican hq where they hatch their evil plot to completely annihilate the democratic party from within. let's look at their notable members, shall we? oh look! it's Strom Thurmond! these are the progenitors of today's republican party. so back in he good old days everyone likes to imagine existed, when republicans stood for values and ice cream and whatnot, what the republican party stood for was the right of the federal government to intervene in state government. that was its platform. the bad new days everybody talks about being so different? they STARTED when the republicans decided to swap their platform from federal power to opposing same, because they knew they could use it to get votes by appealing to southern racism, bigotry and hate. and they used code to do it, in their great Southern Strategy.

there is no point in republican history where they stood honestly for what they claim to stand for today: limited government, lower taxes, the rule of law, etc... it is, always has been and will continue to be code for "nigger," and "fag." and they know it. they just don't want you to know it.
posted by shmegegge at 8:41 AM on December 2, 2009 [4 favorites]


I keep starting to write a response to you, shmegegge, and am stalled by the inability to figure out what to say in response to being emphatically told my words are code for racism. All I can think of is some version of "no, they are not."

*sigh*

Really, I am not an R, much less Atwater or Phillips, and one reason I left the Rs quite awhile ago is because I am equally frustrated by the insistence of Rs that ideas like "social justice" and "gay rights" and "constitutional interpretation" are really just code for socialism, undermining families, and activist judges.

It would help this country a lot if we all could listen to each other without assuming the other side's insincerity, or instantly labeling each other. And it will help the Ds in particular to win elections if they take note of how self defeating the R's insistence on intolerance for varying voices has been.
posted by bearwife at 3:37 PM on December 2, 2009


Realtor? Rabbit breeder? Raunchy porn star?
posted by Burhanistan at 3:45 PM on December 2, 2009


Former G. W. Bush speechwriter and erstwhile National Review contributing editor David Frum has posted this plea to Johnson on his site, FrumForum.com ("dedicated to the modernization and renewal of the Republican party and the conservative movement"):
"Yes, the right is the home of a lot of junk thought and huckstering exploitation. It's also the home of Milton Friedman and James Q. Wilson, Charles Murray and George Borjas, Richard Pipes and Robert Conquest, Tom Wolfe and Philip Larkin, Friedrich Hayek and George Stigler, Leszek Kolakowski and John Lukacs, Bernard Lewis and Fouad Ajami. I'll offset Sarah Palin with Margaret Thatcher, Glenn Beck with Melvin Lasky, Pat Robertson with Richard John Neuhaus.

"Is Charles Johnson too proud for that company? Come on back LGF – it's when your team is doing worst that you are needed most."
That's probably the most measured reaction from the right wing of the blogosphere, which otherwise has responded by calling Johnson, variously, a "lunatic", an "execrable CAIR tool", a "traffic-whore drama-queen", "crazy", the "Driver of Crazy Train", and "barking moonbat unhinged crazy". Something tells me this cycle of defection and excoriation has only just begun.
posted by Doktor Zed at 4:17 PM on December 2, 2009


I'll offset Sarah Palin with Margaret Thatcher

Oh dear.
posted by Artw at 4:56 PM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


Hey, while we're returning 9/11 reactionaries, you guys can also have Dennis Miller back if you'd like...
posted by gyc at 5:24 PM on December 2, 2009 [1 favorite]


bearwife: "I keep starting to write a response to you, shmegegge, and am stalled by the inability to figure out what to say in response to being emphatically told my words are code for racism. All I can think of is some version of "no, they are not."
"

your words? I thought we were talking about the words as used by the republican party.

don't get me wrong, I'm as big a fan of a good old *sigh* as the next person. (just kidding. I'm not a fan of that at all.) but really, you were responding to someone about republican values after they had said that hearing those values mentioned by republican politicians always sounded like code, so I said "those don't sound like republican values, and yes republican politicians speak in code, here's why I think so."

and you've responded by saying that they're YOUR words now, but that you're not a republican. so.... huh?
posted by shmegegge at 10:00 PM on December 2, 2009


When I was a part of the Republican party, Schmegegge, and pre George Bush Sr. I was active quite a while, it was because of my strong preference for values like limited government, keeping the government's nose out of private, personal affairs like sexual preferences and abortion, a balanced budget as a significant federal and state goal, great caution in foreign intervention, and law and order. (I also liked the fact that at the time I was involved, the party was an umbrella big enough to hold liberal Repubicans like Edward Brooke and Mark Hatfield as well as the dotard creeps like Thurmond.) These terms still have meaning for me -- NON code meaning -- but the R party has left these values behind. The party also has no tolerance any more for anyone that doesn't toe the extreme right wingnut line. That's what I meant. I am sorry not to be clear and also sorry about the *sigh* . . . I found myself genuinely sighing as I tried over and over again to craft a response that didn't consist of "Do Not!" and thus stupidly typed one.

I know we don't agree on everything but still hoping that we can keep up the conversation here or elsewhere on MeFi with some trust in each other's good faith.
posted by bearwife at 10:33 AM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


bearwife: "These terms still have meaning for me -- NON code meaning -- but the R party has left these values behind."

I am absolutely positive that they having non code meaning for you, and for most republicans. so let me say as clearly as possible that I really wasn't trying to say anything about your beliefs whatsoever. sorry if I wasn't clear about that before. I'm really speaking about the party as an entity that is controlled by strategists and individuals who I absolutely believe use these terms as code and always have.
posted by shmegegge at 10:41 AM on December 3, 2009 [3 favorites]


I'm willing to put my hand out to anyone who denounces the crazies and the haters and hope that he can influence others to make similar statements. Precious few conservatives have been speaking out in any public way so I am glad for any that do because I am troubled by how frighteningly extreme the far right has gotten. I've periodically been peeking in on threads at LGF and, unlike days gone by, most of the people there sound rational and sane. That alone is refreshing.

That doesn't mean I forget the bad days and suspend all skepticism. I read some threads at LGF around the time of Rachel Corrie's death and was so totally blown away by the cruelty and the hate. But people can and do change and often come to regret and denounce their past behavior.
posted by madamjujujive at 12:00 PM on December 3, 2009 [1 favorite]


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